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tv   Parker Spitzer  CNN  December 7, 2010 4:00am-5:00am EST

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>> larry: you have to work? >> in a way, i do, yh. and maybe that's good. you know? >> larry: al, an honor to have you here. >> it's an for to be here. congratulations on everything. >> larry: al pacino. thanks for watching everyone. good evening, i'm kathleen parker. >> i'm eliot spitzer. tonight's debate, a smart compromise or a cave? i believe it's a cave. the president tonight announcing the deal -- tentative deal with the republican party on in a contentious issue of middle class tax cuts. everybody's tax cuts extended for two years. including the rich. most economists saying, bad idea. unemployment benefits get extended but only for 13 months. even the president didn't seem to like it when he announced it, listen up.
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>> i have no doubt that everyone will find something in this compromise that they don't like. in fact there are things in here that i don't like. namely the extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest americans and the wealthiest estates. but these tax cuts will expire in two years. and i'm confident that as we make tough choices about bringing our deficit down. as i engage in a conversation with the american people about the hard choices we're going to have to make to secure our future and our children's future, and our grandchildren's future, it will become apparent that we cannot afford to extend those tax cuts any longer. >> obviously, if you're a republican, this is a beautiful act of compromise, if you're a democrat it was a cave. >> i don't say this as a democrat, i say this about somebody that cares about economics. it was bad politics for the president, but this is the way he's been doing things for much too long in my book. >> now we have the perfect person to talk to about that.
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>> democratic congressman from new york, anthony weiner. >> i like the table. it's the first i've been here. i feel like i'm a bus driver, though. >> we've learned a lot. >> we're going to turn the tables on you. let me ask this question, the president is negotiating against himself on the tax issue. has he caved? or is this a meaningful compromise where the wealthy are going to get all their tax cuts and the democratic party gets nothing back? >> compromise is a device. i have no problem with it. it seems almost as if i missed the part of the fight. like where was the fight where he said what he believed in? campaigned on it hard, tried to get people -- you know, the problem with the president and i think he's trying to do the right thing, he believes that these vote counts are static things. he's the president of the united states. he can move the meter on these things. considering how many people agree with his fundamental position that we should extend tax cuts for the middle class, and even people doing fairly
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well, he hasn't made the full throated fight for it. this deal is being worked out. it's more than just unemployment assurance. whatever it is, i think that to some degree he underplays his hand. as i said today, it's almost as if he wants to punt sometimes on third down. >> i saw that, you were tweeting. i was reading your tweet this morning. >> are you impressed i'm doing that? >> yeah, i am. memo to our president, why are we always punting on third down? let's get our offense on the field. what does offense look like for you? >> what it means is, when you have a popular position, remember what we're talking about here. the republicans and democrats and the president all agree on the fundamental premise that everyone making south of $250,000 should have their tax cuts continue. that's a popular position. the other side is holding up a whole bunch of stuff because they want tax cuts for everyone else. >> you know what else is
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popular, 1 million and down. why didn't you all go there? >> when i campaigned for re-election, that's the number i talked about. chuck schumer talked about it. i think there are things we can do differently. there are all businesses that are offstable. all of them should have their tax cuts extended. i must have missed the part where the president goes out and makes his case, and that's what i think a lot of people are frustrated about. >> it's been over four weeks since the midterm elections. he's not given a speech to the election. i'm going to fight for don't ask don't tell. middle class tax cuts. pick the unemployment insurance extension. why hasn't he stood up? he's the president of the united states, he hasn't explained what he believes in. >> i think there's something to that. >> i think it's not the outcomes, and we're going to see whatever the deal winds up being, and again i don't mind deal making. that's part of the package, the problem is,he's getting beaten like a rented mule by the republicans who are going to say, i refuse to give on a, b and c. he doesn't seem to realize he has a lot of arrows if he would
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just go ahead and use them. >> who's going to stand up in congress and say, we're going to act like the republicans did when they were in opposition and take a stand? whether you call it a revolt, there were rumors flying around today of a democratic revolt. filibuster against the republican proposals, show some backbone in congress and stand up to them. >> there's no one who can do that, who can fill that position better than the president of the united states. >> he's not one to do it, though? >> the first thing we're trying to do is bolster the president to say, if you lead us into this fight, we're going to follow you. i think the senate is inching in that direction. making them take some of these votes, make them filibuster in these things they're going to be against. it's very difficult to do it when the president -- when we in the house of representatives say, this is our position, and we're sticking in there?
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and then the president says, okay, we're ready to deal. >> you have seen two devastating articles about the president's strategy. this is the interest lecture foundation for progressive politics having desserted the president saying you're spineless, you're basically a hostage subject to stockholm syndrome. he has lost his capacity to fight, why don't you stand up and lead that charge? >> what am i chopped liver? i'm doing that here. >> that's what we're saying. >> fight when you're on "parker/spitzer" season the that what you guys are known for? >> yeah. >> the president, i think -- he's animated by the right things. he wants to try to govern. he wants to try to govern, he thinks this is the best way to do it. he still believes bipartisanship is an ends rather than a means. he's going to keep getting spanked -- mitch mcconnell four days after the election said his single objective is to stop the president from being re-elected. >> said something important a couple moments ago. he views bipartisanship as the end rather than the means. it seems to me, and i am 100% behind him in terms of what he's
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articulated in terms of his objectives, but he doesn't get there because he's always negotiating against himself. he doesn't put up the fight that gets you to the right compromise. and somebody's got to teach them how to negotiate. >> look at the lessons, they did it in the stimulus bill. they shaved it down. they thought republican votes got none. just about every single one of them complains about the auto bailout, and now they're all going and bragging about how it worked. the fact is,i don't think they quite -- the white house quite understands it's not good intentions. you need to show them you're willing to give and take a pinch, in order to make the next fight and the next fight. >> are you the guy that elbowed him, the president? >> no, no, no. >> they need to understand that it is rarely bipartisanship that is transformative. if you're going to be transformative as this president wants to be.
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when fdr was transformative, teddy roosevelt even ronald reagan was transformative -- >> yeah, but now you're not giving him enough credit. the bailout of the auto industry which he got nothing but trouble for, turned out to be a pretty good thing. >> it wasn't bipartisan, that's my point. it would have been better to drive it through with a party that was unified and not give away so much. >> in fairness, we did that during health care. but his inability to win the fight after health care lost the seats here. the president is not a combative guy. he probably looks at me and says, you know what, you're all about fight and bluster, but we still have to get things done. my argument to him is that the two things have to work together. you have to have some fight in the party -- >> what's it going to be like with john boehner leading the way? >> there will be a lot more room in the democratic cloak room. that's for sure. >> they ran a campaign that was
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de void of any real affirmative agenda. they know what they're against. how many votes in a row can you try to undo health care, turn back the clock on the stimulus bill. sooner or later they're going to have to say what their two-year agenda is going to be. >> is he a deal maker? is he someone that will work with democrats? >> i believe him, i don't believe his membership is in a deal making mode at all. they came to town with such a sense of being against obama that they're going to try to burn the place down. i think he's a fairly decent guy constitution ali, i think he's going to be given no room by his caucus. >> are the tea party people going to be a problem for him? or for the more established republicans? >> i don't know.
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i don't know if they believe either. they're a diverse group. they believe a lot of different things. we'll see. i think he's going to be more so than usual. and being a leader of the majority party is never easy. i think he's going to be hurting cats that are running in all kinds of different directions. >> thank you for coming in. >> i'm going to drive this baby home. >> still ahead on "parker/spitzer." the president of the united states becomes the toast of broadway, and no, i'm not talking about barack obama, i'm talking about andrew jackson. who knew old hickory could still sell tickets. don't go away, we'll be right back. >> i also wonder how you end up an operation like this, run he essentially by a social misfit and a private first class in the u.s. army. it seems to me that one ought to be looking at the possibility that this is an official penetration by a hostile intelligence service. let me tell you about a very important phone call i made.
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when i got my medicare card, i realized i needed an aarp... medicare supplement insurance card, too. medicare is one of the great things about turning 65, but it doesn't cover everything. in fact, it only pays up to 80% of your part b expenses. if you're already on or eligible for medicare, call now to find out how an aarp... medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company, helps cover some of the medical expenses... not paid by medicare part b. that can save you from paying up to thousands of dollars... out of your own pocket. these are the only medicare supplement insurance plans... exclusively endorsed by aarp. when you call now, you'll get this free information kit... with all you need to enroll. put their trust in aarp medicare supplement insurance. plus you'll get this free guide to understanding medicare. the prices are competitive. i can keep my own doctor.
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and i don't need a referral to see a specialist. call now to get a free information kit. plus you'll get this free guide to understanding medicare. and the advantages don't end there. choose from a range of medicare supplement plans... that are all competitively priced. we have a plan for almost everyone, so you can find one that fits your needs and budget. with all medicare supplement plans, there are virtually no claim forms to fill out. plus you can keep your own doctor and hospital that accepts medicare. and best of all, these plans are... the only medicare supplement plans endorsed by aarp. when they told me these plans were endorsed by aarp... i had only one thing to say... sign me up. call the number on your screen now... and find out about an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan. you'll get this free information kit... and guide to understanding medicare, to help you choose the plan that's right for you. as with all medicare supplement plans, you can keep your own doctor and hospital that accepts medicare, get help paying for what medicare doesn't...
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and save up to thousands of dollars. call this toll-free number now. u.s. authorities claim the latest wikileaks dump puts national security at risk. some of the sensitive locations revealed pipelines, ports and research facilities. >> our next guest, a diplomatic veteran knows the importance of classified cables. back in 2003, he found himself in the center of a late controversy, after accusing the bush administration of twisting intelligence to launch the iraq war, his wife, valerie plame was outed as a cia agent. a new movie chronicles the entire episode. joe wilson, thanks, welcome. are these documents uniquely dangerous to us? >> they're probably dangerous to us and our allies and every country that may be mentioned in
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them, the strategic infrastructure. i remember when i was in baghdad during the first gulf war. we cataloged by virtue of where the hostages were, the hostages that saddam hussein had taken, they became the 54 strategic sites that we bombed during the first few nights of the gulf war. if he thought enough of the sites to put hostages there, they were of strategic importance to him and his economy. i'm quite sure that anyone who takes a look at those sites will take a look at the target. >> you've been in the foreign service for over 20 years. you had the rank of ambassador. did it shock you he was able to hack into this? >> i'm surprised at cipronet -- which i assume he was using -- that it wasn't better compartmentalized, if in fact what we hear is true that it's just a couple disgruntled soldiers, that they would have
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information so far outside of their responsibilities. i'm surprised at that. and i wonder how you end up an operation like this run essentially by a social misfit. it seems to me that one ought to be looking at the possibility that this is an official penetration by a hostile intelligence service. who stands to benefit by this embarrassment as well as a leak of essential information. >> when you say that this may be a front. there may be something else more nefarious going on. can you expand on that a little bit? >> i'm not in that business, so it's just speculation. but it does seem to me that when you're in the counter intelligence business, the first
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thing you look for is who's doing this, what do they have to gain by it. i would hope that's going on here. perhaps they've already sorted it out, and they've concluded it's just mr. asangs and private first class manning. >> they've revealed they're mining their own yellow cake. what does that mean exactly? and how much closer does that bring them to the ability to have nuclear weapons? >> well, i think first of all, they have some uranium deposits some significance. that's not surprising, you have our aim yum in canada and significant deposits in iraq right across the border. that's not surprising. yellow cake is really lightly refined uranium ore. it's separating the uranium from the rock in which it comes. >> it does tell us they are independent. in other words, if they can mine it, reduce it to yellow cake and begin the enrichment process, what they're saying to the world,have you been imposing sanctions on us.
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and you know what, it's not working, we now are independent and move along -- can move along this chain to get to enriched uranium sufficient for weaponization. and they're saying, keep on with the sanctions, we don't care. >> yeah, what they're saying is, we have the raw material. several years ago, when i was in the air looking at this matter of uranium yellow cake sales. i was sold a report of that. that the iranian's had made an approach in these areas, prior to my trip there. that would have been about a decade ago. so clearly, the intervene years they found their own deposits from tapping into those. they now have their raw material. >> you've been to the center of trying to decipher what a nation's intent may be. how do you know, and how do you begin to look at a country like iran and determine whether they
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are enriching for peaceful purposes which is their claim, or whether they are enriching for military purpose, which is what the rest of the world believes. >> i think you're operating or looking at the iranian government as we do fairly closely. one has to operate on the assumption that they are in fact looking to build a nuclear weapon. all the signs and signals are there, whether they want it as a deterrent or as a hammer held over israel and their arab neighbors as everybody fears, it's a fact that would be one of the consequences of a nuclear program that goes much further than this -- >> let's talk about your movie for a minute, the movie about you, that is,fair game about you and your wife, i understand it was based on memoirs written by each of you. we all know some movies take some license. where do you feel the director took the most license with your story? >> by and large, the movie is a reflection of the times we live there. it's an accurate reflection in both valerie's work and what i was doing. and what we were trying to do to defend ourselves against this
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campaign that was run against us by the bush administration and its allies. >> i assume you have read the editorial in the washington post? >> yes. >> they rarely take a movie -- review a movie as an editorial. this case they took exception to some of the facts in the movie. specifically in one jean that i found compelling. your wife was portrayed as leading this rescue to ferry iraqi scientists out of iraq, and after she was outed. that program was brought to a halt, according to the movie. but the washington post editorial said that was not factually true. do you want to comment on that? >> well, i think the washington post and the reporters upon whom they based that particular judgment ought to go back and do some fact checking. there's other reporting in the public domain that contradicts that. and in fact there is a special prosecutor fitzgerald which he submitted to the court in the trial of scooter libby that
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says, not only was he employed by the cia as an operations officer, she was in the counter proliferation division where she serves as chief of the cpd component with responsibility for weapons proliferations issues related to iraq. that puts her fair and square at the heart of our efforts to find the scientists and to determine whether or not there was an active wmd program going on in iraq prior to the second gulf war. >> all right, well, thank you joe wilson for a fascinating conversation. >> thank you very much. it was nice to be with you. >> thank you for joining us. up ahead on the program, ben bernanke on "60 minutes" last night. what the fed chairman said and how he said it. don't go away, we'll be right back. jackson's back. ♪
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welcome to cultural politics. tonight, who would have thunk it. the most powerful political
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climate is not a tv show, but a broadway musical. bloody, bloody andrew jackson moved uptown from the theater rocking crowds with numbers like this one. take a look. ♪ ♪ >> joining us tonight are the show's star, benjamin walker who plays mr. bloody, bloody himself. and rebecca traister who's seen the show several times and knows its creators. and she also wrote the book "big girls don't cry." welcome, everybody. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having us here. >> we know the seventh president
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was a populous, sort of an army guy that waged wars. why the name bloody, bloody andrew jackson? >> he did have a bloody legacy. that time in america is a very adolescent time. when jackson comes around, he is that adolescent hormonal, silly, pushing against his parents and we're expanding as a nation, unapologetically, and i think that title encompasses it. >> he also committed genocide against the indians, he was proslavery. he wasn't a sweet guy by our standards today. >> we just repeat our adolescence over and over again. i saw this show for the first time probably in 2009. i was in the midst of writing my book about the 2008 election, and specifically just obsessively thinking about the
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2008 primary campaign, writing about hillary clinton's campaign but thinking about obamamania. i came out and the show is so much about these populous crowds, he stands in front of people, and they're projecting upon him their every wish and dream. and i came out of the theater and said to my friends, that was totally about obama, right? >> they said, no, that's about the tea party. >> even the bank, andrew jackson waged a war against what was the fed of the moment, the national bank. saying the big bankers are the root of all problems. this is the populism. >> the issues of indians, immigration, who's in america, what it means to be an american. how we protect borders hop you we form borders. these are all so much of what you see in the show just -- it is history that comes back again and again. >> so are we making progress? >> i don't know.
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i certainly think we're having -- we're continuing to have a mid life crisis, where we're reinventing ourselves to be ourselves again. but i do think that what jackson understood was the importance of theater in politics. and as we watch the news and watch obama's campaign or any campaign, you can't help but draw parallels between the theater aspect of it, the entertainment, how important is charisma in your political vote? >> is there a political message that you are trying -- you hope will be conveyed or is it strictly entertainment? what are you trying to say with this play? i realize you're the star? >> the other night a woman came up to me after the play, and said, it was too loud, too bright, but i'm going to go home and google andrew jackson.
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that's the best possible reaction we could have. and if you walk away with an understanding of the complexities of him, in that he embodies the worst aspects of us as americans as well as the best aspects and that someone -- the politics is that complex when we're having a party line forced down our throats or when the complexities of an issue are being scraped under the rug, it's important to remember that it is complicated and we are all just people trying to govern ourselves. and i think that is something that andrew jackson embodies and he was one of the first presidents to be of the people, someone we could relate to in that way. >> who's the andrew jackson of our day? >> i have no idea, but i do think if he were alive today, he would be tweeting, he would have a facebook page. he would be very much alive in the way our candidates are. >> in the same way that sarah palin is doing that. she's very much the populous queen and she can't get through an hour without tweeting something.
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>> he was very much of the u.s. frontier spirit in terms of his survival. >> at 14 he joined the militia and captured by british officers, at which point he wouldn't shine their shoes so they struck him in the head. >> what other footprints would make good musicals today? >> oh, my god. >> is there anyone who comes to find. >> teddy roosevelt would make a terrific musical. >> obama? >> i just wrote a book, i'm so happy the narrative is so great. >> the most common character in our political scene. there's just no other -- >> she's practically already a reality show. >> thank you both for coming. and let's all go see bloody, bloody. we'll be back with what we think might be the solution of all president obama's political
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problems. don't go away. >> there's a morphine drip in all of our arms, making us think that everything's okay. sometimes bankruptcy is a good thing. i think in reflection upon, and i've thought about this a lot. letting lehman brothers fail may have been a good thing for the system. [ female announcer ] yoplait's real fruit and the goodness of dairy... gives you a little slice of happy. and happiness comes in 25 delicious flavors. explore them all. yoplait. it is so good. now the yoplait you love in a new four pack. try it today. when i got my medicare card, i realized i needed an aarp... medicare supplement insurance card, too.
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medicare is one of the great things about turning 65, but it doesn't cover everything. in fact, it only pays up to 80% of your part b expenses. if you're already on or eligible for medicare, call now to find out how an aarp... medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company, helps cover some of the medical expenses... not paid by medicare part b. that can save you from paying up to thousands of dollars... out of your own pocket. these are the only medicare supplement insurance plans... exclusively endorsed by aarp. when you call now, you'll get this free information kit... with all you need to enroll. put their trust in aarp medicare supplement insurance. plus you'll get this free guide to understanding medicare. the prices are competitive. i can keep my own doctor. and i don't need a referral to see a specialist. call now to get a free information kit. plus you'll get this free guide to understanding medicare. and the advantages don't end there. choose from a range of medicare supplement plans...
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that are all competitively priced. we have a plan for almost everyone, so you can find one that fits your needs and budget. with all medicare supplement plans, there are virtually no claim forms to fill out. plus you can keep your own doctor and hospital that accepts medicare. and best of all, these plans are... the only medicare supplement plans endorsed by aarp. when they told me these plans were endorsed by aarp... i had only one thing to say... sign me up. call the number on your screen now... and find out about an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan. you'll get this free information kit... and guide to understanding medicare, to help you choose the plan that's right for you. as with all medicare supplement plans, you can keep your own doctor and hospital that accepts medicare, get help paying for what medicare doesn't... and save up to thousands of dollars. call this toll-free number now.
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in the arena tonight, the economy as patient. we've tried several different medicines and the nation still isn't improving. bilkoen worked on wall street for years. rob johnson former chief economist of the senate banking committee and a managing director with sorros fund management. i want to start with ben bernanke's interview on "60 minutes" last night. let's take a look.
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>> is keeping inflation in check less of a priority? >> what we're trying to do is achieve a balance. we're very very clear that we will not allow inflation to rise above 2% or less? >> can you act quickly enough to prevent inflation from getting out of control? >> we could raise interest rates in 15 minutes if we have to. >> he will be downright uncomfortable in that interview in every answer. whether it was inflation or quantitative easing. >> i think he's on the hot seat, elliott. how often do you get a fed chairman who is not revered and looked up to in every word. i think it's the fed chairman where people are actively criticizing and questioning his decisions. >> the fed lent $9 trillion with a t to the major banks otherwise
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they would have collapsed. what is going on with this lack of transparency at the fed? it's crazy to me. >> there's one narrative that said they had to do it, they rescued us and they're heroic. on the other hand they should be embarrassed. they had been remiss many regulation supervision for years. most importantly, bernie sanders and others in this legislation had to force their hand open to show us what they've done. they should be facilitating the correction, not resisting it. >> the lack of transparency is one thing. bill, you knew they had to make the loans at the moment of crisis. is that a fair statement? >> well, i mean -- absolutely, the fed and the sec, and the bankers themselves, i think caused this crisis, this is yet another crisis elliott that i think that wall street has caused, perpetrated in the last 25 years, all because in fact of the way they're structured, the way their incentive system works.
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this could have been easily avoided if the right incentives were in place. unfortunately, there's a revolving door that's existed for some time now between the regulators and wall street. the best job in washington is to get to wall street as quickly as you can. that allows these oversites not to be done quickly. >> there are two resolving doors. one is the people, and the other is the money that goes back and forth between the fed and the banks. the fed keeps pumping money into these banks. the banks get bigger, and then we have another crisis. how do you break this crazy dynamic? what's the next best step? >> if you really want to change what's going on on wall street and the behavior, have you to change the incentive systems. >> tell us how you do it. when these firms were private partnerships, these partners had their full entire net worth on the line every day for everything they did. when they went public, they're all public companies. none of them have any assets. >> they're playing with other people's money? >> and just so it's clear, who
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are those other people. >> shareholders. >> and taxpayers. >> they don't have to fear default. >> the government stands behind them, because what was the metaphor you used, how do we -- we bail them out? >> there's a morphine drip in all of our arms, making us think everything's okay. sometimes bankruptcy is a good thing. i think in irony, in reflection upon, and i thought about this a lot. letting lehman brothers fail may have been a good thing for the system. because it reset the bar and it made everybody realize what's going on. >> the current debate about tax policy, we are giving a way $700 billion of tax dollars, otherwise taxes paid to the rich, does this make any sense? tell me how do you process this? >> do you think rich people need to be supported in consuming ore right now? >> what should we be doing? >> we should be doing public long term investment
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infrastructure, education and basic science. that's very, very simple way to target productivity going-forward. we should not focus on austerity, we should focus on support and stimulus and get this economy going. >> there is a mania right now that's overtaken our debate about economics which says the deficit, the deficit, the deficit, other people are out there screaming jobs, jobs, jobs. if you had to choose between the deficit and the jobs? which would you do? >> jobs. i think it's a win-win gain. i just wrote something, if you focus on austerity, your debt to ratio is going to deteriorate. if you focus on productivity, you'll come back down. >> you had paul crugman today on the new york times. they are both in agreement, if you think of two people on further ends of the political spectrum you can't find them. you need to put some of the savings toward paying down the
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deficit. that will happen just like it did in '94. that unleashed the animal spirit that is we wanted. there's $2 trillion of cash on the balance sheet. they don't need more cash to decide whether to invest, they need to understand that the united states is getting its fiscal house in order so we don't go the way of ireland, greece and portugal. >> the $4 trillion that will be saved over the next decade is exactly the amount -- >> if put into effect? >> is precisely the amount we're giving back to taxpayers. why not simply say to some piece of it, the wealthy in particular, you don't get the tax cut, we can use that revenue to draw down the deficit or invest it as you're suggesting, wouldn't that be a better plan for the economy? >> my father's a retired physician. 97% of our population needs
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reassurance right now. the 3% who are best off do not need more after taxes. >> and letting the tax cuts continue is more morphine drip. we need to reset ourselves and the amount of money we spend. the debt we take on as a country and as individuals. we need to reset all that, and start again and learn how to behave properly again. >> fascinating discussion, great ideas. thanks for being with us. >> when we return. you may think the chinese government doesn't like global it turns out there's been a little bit of ego surfing going on in china. >> one thing that people need to know, especially americans about this incredibly diverse mosaic part of the world. there's a casm between the people of the middle east and the leaders of the middle east, and if we really want to know what's going on over there, we need to hear from the people.
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everybody in the world is reading wikileaks, but not if you work for the defense department or the state department. the federal government has said their employees can only read wikileaks only if they have security clearance. even though our kids are reading it. i have the document right here that is causing buzz around the world. >> in china they've been trying to block google all together. they call it the great firewall of china, get it? >> i kind of like it. is it going to work? >> i don't know. we'll see. not only are they sensoring google, they're even trying to sabotage china's google operation. how do we know this? from wikileaks, of course. >> here's the fun part, while the chinese bureau is trying to keep people from connecting to the outside world, guess who's googling themselves?
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>> the chinese leaders. they've been googling themselves. >> everybody does at one point or another. until you find out you don't like what you're reading. >> you find out nobody likes you. >> they call it ego serving or master googling. there's a leader there who saw on google that people were saying negative things about him. he was not beloved by the people, not a good thing in a communist regime, apparently. what did he do? he said, we're going to shut down google. not so good. >> i didn't know you spoke chinese, elliott? that was quite impressive enunciation. don't these guys ever learn? the great wall of china was built to keep invaders out. if a girl in beijing can friend a girl in birmingham, and your own kid can read wikileaks, there ain't no wall high enough. president obama said it to the rush soviet union at that time, tear down that wall. >> here here, elliott.
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and not true, he quotes ronald reagan all the time. he's a closet reagan supporter.
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police say a homeless man admits carrying out the first-ever homicide in celebration, florida, the town created by the disney company not far from disney world. the transient was receiving counseling from the victim. investigators believe the suspect bludgeoned the man to death with an ax.
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>> tonight's person of interest is an iranian writer and scholar who has a unique perspective that the gap between the middle east and the west can be bridged through literature and arts. >> he's the editor of tablet and pen from the modern middle east. it's a mythology of modern middle east literature. thank you for come willing on our program. >> thank you for having me. it's a pleasure to be here. >> you assert we can bridge the gap between middle east and the west through literature. >> the only time we hear about this region is when we hear from their political or religious leaders. if there's one thing we need to know, there's a casm between the people of the middle east and the leaders of the middle east and if we really want to know what's going on over there, we need to hear from the people. >> you know, recently, i guess it was over the summer, some of the higher ranking officials in iran threatened ahmadinejad with impeachment. how likely is that? is it remotely possible? >> it will be difficult because you would need the okay of the supreme leader, and while there
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is ample evidence to show that there is no love loss between the supreme leader and ahmadinejad -- >> you painted a picture that ahmadinejad is not popular with anybody at this point. is he using the issue of obtaining nuclear power, nuclear weapons for dmestic political purposes. does he really intend to get weapons and then use them as an international force. >> not weapons. the term nuclear weapons is never used in any political or social circ nell iran for obvious reasons. but the idea of being able to enrich uranium to their heart's con stent something that every iranian, regardless of their politics or piety unconditionally believes in. there's nothing that's going to change. nothing that anyone can do is going to keep iran from continuing to enrich uranium. now, the question is -- >> to what end.
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>> the question is, well, to how far, and can we keep them from weaponizing that program? >> i think that's something that -- we're far more successful in doing than we actually think. >> you know, you've said that the iranian people are -- it's nonnegotiable whether they have a right to nuclear energy. do they feel they have a right to a nuclear weapon. >> this is actually a robust debate in iran. a lot of people say to themselves, look, we don't want nuclear weapons, because it will create greater isolation, sanctions are really starting, particularly these targeted sanctions that the obama add men trace has applied. really starting to have a major effect on the iranian economy at a time in which the global recession is making life much worse. so there is an understanding that with nuclear weapons comes profound consequences that no iranian actually wants. at the same time, iran is a nationalistic very patriotic
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people. they look over at india, they look over at pakistan, they look over at israel, they see three nuclear powers outside of the mpt. and all three of whom are not -- not only are they not getting punished for their programs, they're getting rewarded for those programs, and they figure, i think a lot of them, well, why not? it's much easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. >> that's not irrational. if someone else is going to have one, i want my country to have one. it's not completely insane they should feel that way. >> there is a fundamental distinction. the iranian government is the only one that speaks forcefully
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and consistently with a voice that declares historical facts saying it wants to eliminate the state of israel. you can understand the iranian government must understand that with rhetoric like that the prospect of its obtaining this weapon efolks a response. if it's rhetoric were to take a fundamentally different direction. then perhaps people would react to it differently. this is not a self-enclosed environment in which they're saying, others have it, we need our toys too. >> there's no question that an iran with nuclear weapons would be a threat to america's regional ambitions in that part of the world. it would empower and embolden the regime, particularly the military elements in the regime that are becoming increasingly a part of the political process there, we have to do everything in our power to make sure iran doesn't develop nuclear weapons. but not because they're going to use them to commit collective suicide. anyone who thinks that iran wants a nuclear weapon in order to commit suicide with it, doesn't really belong in the debate. >> all right. fascinating discussion. the book is tablet and pen, thanks for being with us. >> my pleasure. >> we'll be right back.
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president obama announces a deal with republican leaders to extend the bush tax cuts for two years and unemployment benefits for 13 months. the president made it clear, neither side is completely happy with the agreement, but says it's time to put politics aside. >> people didn't send us to win symbolic battles or symbolic victories.
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